Campus Map

A New Generation of Campus Maps

“Anytime I feel lost, I pull out a map and stare. I stare until I have reminded myself that life is a giant adventure, so much to do, to see.”
— Angelina Jolie

conf-listing2014 has been a great year for getting out of my comfort zone, and in keeping with that theme, last month I gave my first-ever conference presentation with a couple of amazing colleagues at HighEdWeb 2014 in Portland, Oregon. I wish I could say that I nailed it, but honestly I tried to pack waaaay too much information into a limited amount of time, and was pretty nervous for the first 10 minutes or so. Still, it was well attended, we got some great questions and feedback afterward, and it was an exciting new experience that I would definitely recommend to anyone else looking to push out of their professional or personal comfort zone.

This presentation was about online maps—specifically higher-ed campus maps—and over the past several months I’ve collected a lot of information and resources that I’d like to share, in case it’s helpful to anyone else who is new-ish to online maps. Some of this will apply specifically to people working at colleges and universities, but there’s also some that could be useful to anyone interested in web-based mapping.

Before we jump in:

« here’s a link to the full slide deck ».

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Looking back in time by 900hp, on Flickr

A better simple slideshow

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
— John Wooden

It’s a do-over! This is another fairly basic slideshow, written in javascript, html, and css. This is a dual-purpose project, it’s meant (1) to be something you can drop right into your page and use if you so choose, but it’s also meant (2) as an example/tutorial showing you how to build a simple DIY slideshow from scratch on your own. You can see a couple of demos of the finished product here: http://leemark.github.io/better-simple-slideshow/. Continue reading

gocode2

Pulling JSON data from a public data API

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle

The Go Code Colorado crew, photo by Allison Daniell of Stellar Propeller Studio
Go Code Colorado photos by Allison Daniell of Stellar Propeller Studio

I had the opportunity recently to participate in Go Code Colorado, an “apps challenge” (think weekend hackathon + startup pitch competition) meant to make public data more accessible. It was an awesome experience and it got me thinking about government/public data, and how to use it and combine it in ways that can help people.

Here’s a quick example of how to pull data from one such public data source,  the Colorado Business Entity Database.   Basically, anyone starting a new business or forming a business entity in Colorado, whether that be a sole proprietership, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc, has to file documents and register their business with the Secretary of State’s office, and that information becomes public data. What we’re going to do in this example is to use state-provided API to pull a list of current businesses in a particular ZIP code, and list out their names, street addresses, and cities.
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zoey

Looking back, looking forward, and giving thanks

“Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy.
When you touch nonfear, you are free.”
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014! I’ve always liked the first part of a new year–it’s a good time to take stock, and take a little time to be mindful about where I’m going and what I’m doing. So this post will probably be a little more me-centric than usual, but hopefully there’s something of interest to you too–assuming you’re a fellow web designer, web dev, front-end developer, or just an all-around web geek :)

Looking back

2013 was a great year for me professionally, definitely one of my best so far. As I talked about in my very first post, I started 2013 in bit of a rut and like I was slipping behind the times a little in my profession. Now at the end of 2013 I’m much more up-to-date on skills, feeling rejuvenated, more engaged in the web community, and very excited for the future. All the people, projects, organizations, resources, and communities that have helped me get to this point are too numerous to list, but I want to call out a few that I’m particularly thankful for.
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Slide Projector by macattck, on Flickr

A simple DIY responsive image slideshow made with HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript

“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” ― Napoleon Hill

IMPORTANT: I’ve written a new more robust slideshow, along with a code walkthough/tutorial. If you’re looking for a slideshow to use on your own site, it’ll be better and easier to use than this one. Go check it out: http://themarklee.com/2014/10/05/better-simple-slideshow/

A while back I wrote about a technique for building a simple automatically cycling slideshow using CSS animations, no JavaScript required. While that is definitely an interesting technique, it’s also pretty limited in how you can use it. For example, often with an image slideshow rather than just auto-advancing the slides you may want to let the user have control, so they can navigate forwards and backwards through the images at their own pace. These days you also may want a slideshow that’s responsive, so that it will work across a wide range of devices, automatically resize to fit different screen sizes, and maybe even allow some more touch-centric interaction–like swiping to the left or right instead of clicking “previous” and “next” buttons to cycle through the slides.

If this is what you need and you’re just looking for a drop-in solution, there’s no reason to reinvent the wheel, there are some great slideshow options out there already (here are just a few: Unslider, SwipeJS, SlidesJS). However if you’re more of the do-it-yourself type and you want to custom-build your own to suit your exact needs, or just want to see how it can be done, then it’s pretty easy to get started with just a little bit of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
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Screen Shot 2013-11-27 at 11.36.02 PM

CSS gradients: basic to advanced

“All that’s bright must fade, the brightest still the fleetest; All that’s sweet was made but to be lost when sweetest.” ― Thomas Moore

It used to be when you wanted a nice simple gradient background for your page, the process looked like this: Step 1) fire up Photoshop; Step 2) use the Gradient tool to fill the canvas with a horizontal or vertical gradient; Step 3) crop canvas into a as-small-as-possible slice (often 1px high or 1px wide); Step 4) export .gif or .jpg graphic; and so on. I’m leaving off the rest of the steps, because you either remember how to do it from past experience, or you’ll never need to know how to make a gradient that way thanks to the awesomeness of CSS gradients. Let’s take a look at what they can do! Continue reading

central-park-map

Geolocation Part II: Building Interactive Maps with Leaflet

“A map does not just chart, it unlocks and formulates meaning; it forms bridges between here and there, between disparate ideas that we did not know were previously connected.”
― Reif Larsen

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about using the Geolocation API, and walked through the minimal code necessary to get the user’s longitude and latitude. Now I want to take it just a step further, and show how to use Leaflet to show the users current location on a map. Continue reading

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 11.03.34 PM

A design pattern for making interesting CSS animations in under 10 minutes

“the way is long if one follows precepts, but short and helpful, if one follows patterns” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I’ve had a lot of fun making a certain style of CSS animation demos on CodePen lately, all of which seem to follow a similar design pattern. Below are a couple of examples (embedded here as .gifs, but click through to see the live HTML/CSS versions): Continue reading